It’s the first of the big ones today as we make a list of everyone who we’ll be buying a present for. I like to start with my immediate family, for whom the list of presents is longest, including stockings and multiple gifts under the tree.
A few years ago I picked up from The Art of Simple the idea of a simple stocking plan, which is to include in everyone’s stocking:
- something they want
- something they need
- something to wear
- something to read
- I added on something to do, and something to eat!
It’s a great way to work out a shopping list and to keep the contents to a manageable number. My mum used to literally fill our stockings, I don’t know how she managed to buy it all, pay for it, store it, or wrap it, I really don’t! What a star. I’m less of a star and love this method. And to be honest my children’s favourite items seem to be the candy cane, clementine, and gold chocolate coins every year. It sounds quaint and unbelievable I know but I’ve heard them say it I promise!
Next I move on to our main presents. Usually these include at least one shared present. This year I’m including games, books, family DVDs, and lots of LEGO (shhhh don’t tell them!). My husband reads this so I can’t share my ideas for him, except to say of course they are fab 😉
I love presents and giving presents, but I am one of those people who tends to buy what they would like. I am not naturally very good at individualisation, or thinking what people would most like themselves. Now that I know that I try to think things through more carefully, and sometimes seek help from God, who after all knows them best. In one way this feels a bit over spiritual, but on the other hand all of our life should be perfectly in tune with Him so I think I should probably do even more of it. I’d love to know what role prayer plays in your gift list?
Once this is done I feel that I’m at least half way there and that helps me to keep going to my wider family and friends. For those who also have a birthday in December or January I try to work out their presents at the same time. Part of our family lives in Australia so I try to order directly from Australian websites or pick things that are light to post.
I usually write out my list of names, and fill in the ideas that I have already. That feels like quite a feat, so I usually wait a few days after that to go back and finish the list for the people for whom I’m not sure what to buy or make. I’m tempted to keep just filling in a few and leaving the hard ones for another day or two, but this year I have managed to complete the full list in two sittings, with a little will power but not too much agonising. Perhaps those prayers were just the right thing after all!
A final note might be about budget. Do set a realistic budget. I like to be generous but I do believe we should be able to pay for our presents without getting stressed or in debt. One year we had to halve our present buying budget. It was really hard and I fought against doing it for a long time. In the end though it was quite fun, if a challenge, to find everyone a present. And I am so glad that I did this. I feel now that instead of having to spend a certain amount we can work out what we can afford and be happy if this sometimes goes down as well as up.
Now, go make your list! If you fancy, please leave a comment sharing any present buying or stocking filling tips you have.